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11-02-2004, 07:18 PM
Harrison needed due to injuries
Rookie says 'I feel like I have to play' in season opener; Bender hopeful of returning.

By Mark Montieth

November 1, 2004

Two faint rays of light were piercing the cloud cover Sunday as the Indiana Pacers stepped up preparations for the start of real games.

David Harrison declared himself ready to play in Wednesday's opener at Cleveland and Jonathan Bender is hopeful.

They would be welcome, given the onslaught of injuries that have removed starters Reggie Miller, Jermaine O'Neal and Jeff Foster, and No. 2 point guard Anthony Johnson from the lineup.

Harrison, the Pacers' first-round draft pick, was a full-time participant in Sunday's workout, the team's first all-scale session in more than a week because of the hectic late preseason schedule.

He began rigorous individual workouts last week to test the shoulder he sprained in practice after the opening exhibition game.

"I felt fine," Harrison said. "I'll go (today) and see how I feel then.

"I'm going to try to show them it's not bothering me. I'm still a little gimpy, but it's still not limiting my game."

If available, the 7-foot Harrison could get extensive action in his debut. His only preseason action was a 24-minute appearance against Washington, in which he scored 12 points. Veteran Scot Pollard will start at center, with free agent John Edwards the only other available post player.

"I feel like I have to play," Harrison said.

Bender did not play in any of the preseason games after suffering a bruised left knee in a pickup game shortly before the start of training camp. He took part in most of Sunday's practice and is optimistic about his availability for Wednesday.

"We're going to look at it (today) to see if I can play," he said. "I can probably play a little bit, but not a whole lot."

Coach Rick Carlisle projects a starting lineup of Jamaal Tinsley and Stephen Jackson in the backcourt and Ron Artest, Austin Croshere and Pollard across the front line. Fred Jones, James Jones and Eddie Gill -- and perhaps Harrison and Bender -- will play key roles off the bench.

"There's no point in dwelling on our situation," Carlisle said. "We have to make the best of it with the guys we have available. It's an opportunity to step forward."

Call Star reporter Mark Montieth at (317) 444-6406.

11-02-2004, 07:22 PM
I haven't seen this posted...

I'm hoping Harrison can earn a permanent spot in the rotation over the next six weeks.

What I'm really hoping for, is that Harrison plays so well in the first two games that Pollard is benched again, just like he was after two games last season.

I'd feel much better about November relying on a rookie instead of Pollard. :twocents:

11-02-2004, 08:03 PM
I just wonder how many people are saying now " Wish we still had Primoz ":confused: I never really cared for PB , but he defintely woulda had a chance to get some PT .

Pollard I can't complain what he has done in the Preseason , but once again it's the Preseason so take that for what it's worth. I don't think Pollard is in good shape , he played 31 mins and he looked extremely tired , it's clear he hasn't played alot of serious mins in god knows how long and I don't know how if we have to depend on him for major mins he will fair.

I would Love to see The Hulk get some PT :)